woodland lettuce

(Lactuca floridana var. floridana)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

woodland lettuce

NatureServe

N5? - Secure

SH - Possibly Extirpated

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Great Plains

FAC - Facultative

Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

Nativity

Native

 
Occurrence

 

 
Habitat

Moist. Thickets, woods, open places

 
Flowering

June to September

     
Flower Color

Light blue, sometimes whitish ray florets

     
Height

2 to 6½

     
 
Identification

This is a 2 to 6½ tall, erect, annual or biennial with a thick, deep taproot. The stems and leaves contain a milky latex.

The stems are leafy and hairless.

The alternate leaves are toothed and are lobed halfway or more to the midrib but not reaching the midrib. The base of the leaf is not arrow-shaped. The terminal segments are often triangular. They are on leaf stalks and are up to 3 to 12 long and 1 to 8 wide. The midvein on the underside is often hairy.

The inflorescence is an open-branched cluster.

The flower heads are about across and have 10 to 25, usually 10 to 15, light blue or, sometimes, whitish ray florets.

The fruit is a brown achene with fluffy, white bristles attached to the tip.

 
Similar
Species

Canada lettuce (Lactuca canadensis) has yellow flowers.

Prairie lettuce (Lactuca ludoviciana) has stemless, sessile or clasping leaves.

Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) has yellow flowers. The leaves have prickles on the leaf margins and on the underside of the midvein.

The blue species of Lactuca are extremely variable and identifying characteristics overlap, factors which, taken together, make the species difficult to separate.

Showy blue lettuce (Lactuca tatarica ssp. pulchella) has large, showy flower heads that measure, ¾ across.

Tall blue lettuce (Lactuca biennis) has stemless, clasping leaves. It has a tighter inflorescence and tends to be more leafy than woodland lettuce. The flower heads usually have 20 to 30 ray florets. The achene has grayish-brown bristles attached to the tip.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 7, 28.
 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Asteraceae (aster)

 

Subfamily:

Cichorioideae

 

Tribe:

Cichorieae

 

Subtribe:

Lactucinae

 
Synonyms

Lactuca floridana

Lactuca floridana var. villosa

Lactuca villosa

Mulgedium floridanum

Mulgedium villosum

 
Common
Names

Florida blue lettuce

Florida lettuce

wild lettuce

woodland lettuce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Achene

A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.

 

Clasping

Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.

 

Sessile

Stalkless; attached at the base without a petiole, peduncle, pedicel, or stalk.

       
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  woodland lettuce    
       

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  woodland lettuce    
       

Infructescence

  woodland lettuce    
       
       

 

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